Hearts have a Problem with Celtic and it’s all Albert Kidd’s Fault

Celtic supporters call yesterday – 3rd May – Albert Kidd Day because of the two late goals he scored for Dundee back in 1986 at Dens Park against Hearts in the last game of the season.

Hearts, who had been on an unbelievably consistent run that season, made the 56 miles journey from Edinburgh up to Tayside knowing that they only needed a draw to be crowned as Scottish Champions for the first time since 1960.  Even then they could only be caught if they lost to Dundee and Celtic failed to win by four clear goals on their trip down the M8 to play St Mirren at Love Street in Paisley.

It never really crossed any Hearts fans minds that they would fail to beat Dundee, having got themselves into such a brilliant position with ‘only’ Dundee’ left to play. There was even a song written that season – the ‘Hearts, Hearts Glorious Hearts’ one that is still played at Tynecastle to this day and it was reported that the club had produced an ample supply of t-shirts and other title winning merchandise to acknowledge their incredible triumph.

Back in 1986, Scottish football was perhaps more competitive than it is these days. Alex Ferguson was at Aberdeen and he had managed to do the impossible by breaking the Old Firm’s stranglehold on the domestic honours, especially the league title.  And Jim McLean at Tannadice joined in too, quite remarkably winning a title for Dundee United in 1983.

McLean’s side also made an impact in European football and you’ll be surprised to learn of Dundee United’s record against Barcelona.  Dundee United have played Barcelona four times and incredibly, like a glorious win  over at https://nongamstopcasinos.net/non-gamstop-betting-sites/ they won them all, giving Dundee United the best record of any British side against the Catalonian giants!

And Alex Ferguson won the Scottish Premier League for Aberdeen on three occasions in the years before Hearts had their chance. Indeed Ferguson’s record at Aberdeen was so impressive that he ended up getting offered the Manchester United job. Wonder how that turned out?

At Aberdeen he won three league titles, four Scottish Cups and two Scottish League Cups and to two European trophies, the Cup Winners Cup then the European Super Cup, beating European Champions Hamburg over two legs. 

And while Dundee United hold that British record over Barcelona, Aberdeen have one of their own in European football over that other giant in Spanish football. The most successful football club in the World has got to be Real Madrid – you’d have to be deranged to think otherwise – and since playing Aberdeen in the 1983 European Cup Winners Cup Final in Gothenburg,  Real Madrid have competed in so many European finals and have won them all – but they lost to Aberdeen!

So Hearts getting in on this action in 1986 was no great surprise. Celtic were still competent but it was a different story at Ibrox. That 1985-86 season saw Rangers finish fifth behind the so-called New Firm of Aberdeen and Dundee United, Hearts and of course Celtic.  Rangers lost four league matches at Ibrox that season and an incredible ten on the road. in fact they only won three away league matches all season!

And Hearts also had a Scottish Cup final against Aberdeen to look forward to the following weekend, so an unlikely double was on for the Tynecastle outfit who were desperate to get amongst the honours once again.

At half-time on 3rd May 1986 Celtic had already done their bit going in for the break 4-0 to the good in what was an incredible first half performance from Davie Hay’s side.  But the news from Dens Park was frustrating. There had been no goals so if things stayed as they were Hearts would be the Champions of Scotland.

Ten minutes into the second half Brian McClair, who would later join Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford, added to Celtic’s tally and then it simply a matter of waiting to see what would happen in the closing stages 91 miles up the road in Dundee.

In 1986 there was no internet so the way supporters kept in touch with games elsewhere was via little transistor radios pushed against their ears. Not every supporter had one but those who did always had a little crowd watching them for their reaction to determine whether any developments were good or bad. Good news would be celebrated by the supporter with the radio cheering and that spread through the crowd.

In goals for St Mirren that afternoon was the veteran goalkeeper Jim Stewart. Inside the last ten minutes he had the ball safely in his arms and was probably starting to think about his summer holidays as he got set to launch the ball deep into the Celtic half, when all hell broke loose around him.  This is what the supporters were hearing on their radios…

For a reason which had absolutely nothing to do with the game at Love Street, the huge crowd of Celtic supporters in the ground heard the news from Dens Park. Kidd had scored!  There was also roars of approval and celebrations at Ibrox because their fans had trannies too (that’s what these little transistor radios were called) and Hearts had a player called Kidd. Walter Kidd.

The mistake was an easy one to make as all it needed was one person to get it wrong and the fake news would spread like wildfire around the stadium. Indeed many Rangers fans left the ground delighted, believing that Hearts had won the league thus denying their Old Firm rivals Celtic.

But it was Albert, the Dundee substitute who had scored, He had had, frankly a poor season personally. He was making up for that thought in the most dramatic of circumstances with seven minutes left on the club. Hearts were 1-0 behind but had time to grab an equaliser that would win them the Scottish Premier League title.

Albert Kidd celebrating scoring goal for Dundee May 1986

At Love Street the celebrations had died down and everyone was concentrating on folk with the radios and not the ones kicking the ball around the pitch. Indeed the players too were more interested in watching what was going on with the fans.

Then it happened again. The Celtic carriers of glad tidings erupted with joy for a second time. Was it all over at Dens Park the players wanted to know? Davie Provan the talented Celtic winger was out injured at that time and he confirmed to his teammates from the bench that the game had not finished but with his fingers advised that the score was now 2-0.

Later they’d discover that it was Albert Kidd once again who had hammered Hearts title challenge into the ground with a sensational double.

And Hearts were broken. The next week they turned up at Hampden and Alex Ferguson’s Aberdeen rolled them over quite comfortably winning 3-0. Many believe that Hearts have never recovered fully from that ordeal ever since.

This Sunday Celtic travel to Tynecastle looking for three points that will be enough to secure the Scottish premiership title. And the trauma of Dens Park on 3rd May 1986 will be on the Hearts supporters’ minds and they will demand that their team do all that they can to derail Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic side and prevent them from celebrating another title win on their home soil.

Oh and God bless Albert Kidd.  Now watch this…

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  1. I was in the enclosure on that never to be forgotten day. On the Sunday,vI travelled back to Stirling. In a Bridge Of Allan boozer, I bumped into a Hibee pal of mine. We went on the razz for a full week, culminating in us going to Hampden for the Scottish Cup Final. Happy days.

    Hail Hail.

  2. David Potter on

    Magnificent stuff, Shaun! Well written and informative,
    The bitterness of Hearts supporters against Celtic is certainly very obvious. I often wonder whether it goes back a little earlier though, possibly to December 1966 when Celtic signed Willie Wallace from them? Certainly it was soon after that when I heard them singing Orange songs for the first time.
    There is possibly even the subtle almost subliminal point that on April 24 1965, Celtic and Hearts effectively changed places when Celtic won the Cup and Hearts lost the League on the same day. Celtic were now among the honours and Hearts sank into mediocrity almost immediately after that, hence the reason that Wallace was so keen to go to Celtic.